ORAN -- The first round of the Scott-Mississippi Conference varsity boys tournament tipped off on Monday night with the higher seeds holding serve.
The most competitive contest of the evening featured the No. 4-5 matchup between East Prairie and Delta. No. 4 East Prairie prevailed 65-60.
In other games, No. 2 Scott County Central stormed past No. 7 Oran 79-32 and No. 3 Scott City eliminated No. 6 Chaffee 58-28.
Top-seed Kelly drew a first-round bye and faces East Prairie on Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by Scott Central vs. Scott City at 8:30.
East Prairie (13-3), enjoying its best season in recent memory, fought off a tough foe in Delta (9-7) in the nightcap.
The Eagles jumped to the early lead, then saw the Bobcats claw back for their first lead of the game at 26-25 with three minutes left in the first half.
East Prairie held a slim 33-32 advantage at the half.
East Prairie gained control early in the second half before Delta battled back again to knot the score at 39 at the 5:40 mark of the third period.
"Our kids could have folded a couple of times," said East Prairie coach Jason Irby, "but we dealt with them pretty well and made runs back. We had different kids step up and that's kind of been our story all year."
On the Eagles' next possession, a 3-pointer by Jordan Sanders -- one of four for Sanders -- sent them up 42-39, a lead they would never relinquish. East Prairie had answers for every subsequent Bobcat run in the third and fourth quarters.
East Prairie, led by Preston Shoemaker and Sanders with 14 and 12 points, respectively, got scoring contributions from 10 players.
"Our depth has been a luxury all year for us," said Irby. "We've got so many kids that can play and we just run 'em in and out and keep fresh kids out there. It's been a real key for our team. The best part about our team is we're a team."
The resilient Bobcats, only six players strong, suffered their second loss in four days to the Eagles.
"I felt like the effort was there the whole game," said Delta coach Shawn Kinder. "We forced a few shots early (in the game) and early in the second half, too. When you're playing with six guys, you've really got to be patient on the offensive end and take the best shot possible."
Brent Menz topped Delta with 21 points, while Cody Crowden added 15 and Kevin Bartels 12.
Neither team shot well from the free-throw line. East Prairie was 5-for-13 and Delta 5-for-15.
Said Kinder, "If we'd shot 50 or 60 percent, it could have been a different ballgame."
In the tournament opener, Scott Central's hot shooting carried them to a 22-5 first-quarter lead and they never looked back against the host team.
"They shot the ball a lot better than we thought they would and we never could get it going, offensively," said Oran coach Jason Andrews. "I think we were intimidated right off the bat and it showed, offensively and defensively.
The victory broke a three-game skid for the Braves (10-6). "It's been awhile," said Scott Central coach Delane Beckwith. "It's kind of hard to get on the winning track when you're playing against Charleston, Kelly and Portageville.
"For us right now, we needed this because we've been kind of going down a little bit. In order for them to believe in the coach, you need a "W" every now and then."
Avis White and reserve Pershard Owens shared scoring honors for the Braves with 15 points apiece. White sank five from behind the arc.
Ryan Bouge paced the Eagles (1-10) with 13 and Travis Randolph netted 10.
Scott City coach Lance Amick rested his starters for most of the game as the Rams cruised past the Red Devils.
All-stater Mark Dannenmueller led Scott City (11-5) with 16 points, while Jeff Daugherty scored nine for Chaffee (2-11).